The first few days and weeks after you quit smoking can be extremely difficult. Overnight, you just cut off a significant source of comfort for your mind and body, albeit one that is slowly killing you. Intense tobacco cravings might occupy your mind, and triggers undoubtedly surround you. Thankfully, there are things you can do to make the experience more bearable.
Whether you’ve decided to go about it alone or with the help of a health and lifestyle coach, the next steps will be crucial to your long-term wellness. As your body adjusts to a life without nicotine, you might experience physical and psychological symptoms. But you can manage the discomfort if you take good care of yourself.
1. Manage your stress
People who struggle from a heavy workload often resort to cigarettes for stress management. Since smoking is no longer an option, you need to find new ways of neutralizing your stress.
It could be as simple as using your phone, talking to friends, reading a book, or even going outside for a quick stroll around the block. Try as many activities as you can if you feel you’re getting the urge to smoke.
2. Stay away from triggers
Cigarette urges tend to become more intense in places or situations where you smoked most often, such as at work, parties, or while drinking coffee. Make a list of your top triggers and create a game plan to help you get through these situations without smoking a cigarette.
For instance, if you often smoked while drinking your morning coffee, find an activity to distract yourself, such as playing a mobile game or reading a book. This will help suppress the urge to smoke.
3. Exercise often
Physical activity can help reduce the strength of your cigarette cravings. Even a quick five-minute workout such as jumping jacks and jogging can distract you from your desires. The typical craving lasts for around three minutes, so you just need to occupy yourself and wait until it passes.
Regular workouts also help strengthen your lungs and heart, two organs that are most affected by tobacco use. If physical activity isn’t an option, you can start a hobby such as crafting, gardening, or photography. Even simple tasks like chores can help distract you from tobacco.
4. Remember why you quit
If you feel like you’re about to relapse, think of all the reasons why you quit. Maybe you want to save money, or you want to look and feel healthier. Or you want to spare your family and friends from cigarette smoke. Recite the reasons as a mantra to help fortify your mental strength.
Overall, these are just some of the techniques you can use to help you through the first few weeks. Smoking cessation requires planning and commitment, and you need to formulate a plan if you want to quit smoking for good. Cigarette dependence is partly emotional, so you might want to seek support from friends and fellow recovering smokers. However, it is always better to consult a professional.